I would like to thank those who’ve read my blog recently, and especially those who’ve had such kind words for me. The fact that people have read my story is very healing on some level. I have been so angry over the past year, in large part because everyone seems to expect me to suffer in silence; buck up; chin up; whatever. It’s crappy enough that my career is teetering on the edge of disaster, but to be expected to paste on a smile and make small talk about the weather at bar events and in courthouse hallways seems to me to be manifestly unfair.
I’ve known several people who have been diagnosed with cancer. The one universal thing they tell me is that they hate it when people either fawn all over them (ohhhh, you poooor, poooor dear, what can we dooooo?) or pretend like nothing is happening. What has happened to me is not cancer and I don’t mean to insult anyone who’s ever had it, but I have come to understand that sentiment. I’m not sure if this is something that is unique to the practice of law or if it’s business in general. Personally I think people going through hell should be able to talk about it within reason without being labelled a kook or a flake.
I have been feeling better lately, which is probably why I haven’t been posting as often. I have returned to my meditation practice, something I did in the past but had let slide during the past few years. I have accepted a couple of pro bono cases because I would rather keep busy and I believe in compassion. After all of this, I believe in compassion. I have a job, and I recognize that a lot of people don’t, or are worse off in other ways. Still, I haven’t gotten a new assignment in months and that is very worrisome. My clients assure me that they are all with me but things are slow. I hear rumors that things are slow everywhere, but it is hard to confirm that because lawyers like to talk about how busy they are.
Maybe I just won’t make it in private practice. I was a very young partner when my firm fell apart, and I didn’t have a huge book to begin with. Maybe the economic collapse coupled with the high profile death of my old firm is too much. There are always lawyers who take a downward path. You watch them over a period of five or six years go from partner at one firm to senior associate or counsel at another; then maybe they hang out a shingle; then a year or so later they go to a captive. Or they just disappear and you have to assume that they’ve moved away or left the practice of law entirely. That seems like a fate worse than death to me. I don’t want to be the topic of a “whatever happened to” conversation five years from now. I’m afraid that I am on that path. I know I am a better lawyer than the lawyers I have seen do that before, but it all comes down to business, doesn’t it? So I don’t know.
I’m having lunch with the managing partner this Friday. I hope that it will be a constructive meeting. One thing I will say about my new firm: you know what you are getting with these people. They are interested in the bottom line. They will be perfectly polite about it, but you know what it is they want and what is going to happen if you don’t deliver. I’m glad because at least I know where I stand. I would choose this any day over a group of people who come to your house for parties and ask about your children and give you Christmas gifts while they’re plotting to screw you. I think I’m even beginning to let go of that anger, though. I got a pleading on Friday from one of my former partners involved in the increasingly nasty post-firm break up litigation and I didn’t even melt down when I read it.
So, we will see how things go. Thank you again for your kindnesses. It means and meant a great deal to me. I am going to try to pay it forward.